Search Engine Battle, Part 2

Fredrick Marckini continues his write-up about the coming Google-Microsoft war. [Part 1]. A couple of interesting suggestions:

Divide and Conquer: Search behavior is migrating. Many book searches already occur on Amazon. Many travel-related searches have migrated to Expedia or Orbitz; health-related searches are conducted on WebMD and MerckSource. In terms of a “what’s next” strategy, Google should consider testing vertical search sites, preferably not Google branded…Google owns “search” but not “sports search” or “medical search.” The trouble with line extension, according to Trout, is short-term effects are often the opposite of long-term results. Line extensions almost always work near term, but finally fail. Temptation will be strong to leverage a powerful brand name. Google must resist, or suffer the consequences. In attacking its own domination and possibly distributing it across a variety of vertical search brands, Google could reduce the size of the pie for a new mass-market search interface, while increasing the size of several new categories it can dominate. A larger search market may result. The first vertical? The lucrative travel sector. Google could literally redefine search and move the target. It’s much harder to hit a moving target.

Downloadable Search App: Google offers a free downloadable toolbar that allows users to launch a search from their browser without visiting Google’s site. It could offer an updated toolbar that doesn’t require a browser launch, a floating search window that launches with the OS. This provides always-on, always-on-top search. Perhaps Google could innovate some other indispensable desktop search utility. If it offered something new, interesting, valuable and free, history proves users will download and install it. Any such app may slow Microsoft and force it to compete with an adopted utility. Google has only a small window of opportunity to execute such a strategy.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.